What happened to Will Rodman in ‘Planet Of The Apes?’

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In May 2024, audiences were treated to the latest installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise with “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” This film marks the fourth entry in the series’ “new-era” and notably, it diverges from its predecessors by not featuring Caesar, the central character of the first three modern Apes films.

 

What happened to Will Rodman in ‘Planet Of The Apes?’

For those needing a refresher, let’s rewind to the beginning. In “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” we meet Will Rodman, portrayed by James Franco, a pharmacist and chemist working at Gen-Sys Laboratories. Will’s work revolves around the development of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug called ALZ-112, driven by his personal connection to the disease through his father’s affliction.

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It’s through Will’s research that a chimpanzee named Caesar becomes exposed to the drug in utero, resulting in a remarkable increase in intelligence. As Caesar’s intelligence grows, so does his influence among his fellow apes, eventually leading to the emergence of an organized ape society. Despite the eventual rift between humans and apes, Will maintains a deep bond with Caesar, serving as a paternal figure to the remarkable chimpanzee.

However, the events of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” culminate in a global pandemic, unleashed by a deadly virus that ravages humanity, decimating a significant portion of the population. While the fate of Will is left somewhat ambiguous, subtle clues suggest his demise. In the subsequent film, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” Caesar returns to Will’s abandoned home, where a FEMA notice on the door indicates that two individuals have perished inside.

Given the circumstances and the prevailing theories, it’s widely accepted that Will, along with his girlfriend Caroline, likely succumbed to the virus. Their absence from subsequent events in the franchise reinforces this assumption, leading many to include Will Rodman among the casualties of the devastating pandemic.

Thus, while the exact fate of Will Rodman may remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, the prevailing narrative points towards his tragic demise, adding another layer of depth to the complex and interconnected world of the Planet of the Apes saga.